Online Mentorship Programs: Cash in on Your Expertise


Whether you're a former retail store owner known for yourcreativity, a championship bridge player, or apsychotherapist with a long current waiting list foropenings, if you possess expertise that makes colleaguesand aficionados want your pearls of wisdom, you can createa new income stream with an online mentorship program.

Such a program charges a fee for people to sit at your feetand learn from you. The program would have a special focus(not for everyone) and offer information, resources, advice, insider tips and problem solving. While amentorship program could take place in the "real world," itis especially easy to set it up, promote and run it online.

Before I created my online mentorship program, MarketingforMore. com, in the fall of 2003, I did extensiveresearch on fees and features of other programs. I lookedmost closely at seven examples whose fees ranged from $30 amonth to just less than $600 a month.

At the lower end of this spectrum, $30 a month didn't givemembers very much personal access to the expert around whomthe program revolved, while at nearly $600 a month, amember received just about unlimited private access to theexpert. Likewise, the program with the lowest fee acceptedanyone who applied, while the higher fees requiredapplication, with no guarantee of acceptance.

You should do this research yourself to see who has aprogram similar to yours, what they charge and what theyoffer. Join a couple of mentorship programs and learn fromwhat you like and don't like in what they do.

When you decide to go ahead, you can either buy a readymadesoftware program for running such an online program orcreate your own web site. Membergate (www. membergate. com)is the best and most reliable such tool, with a one-timelicensing fee of $3,500 and up. Since my husband is aprogrammer, we built our own site with a password-protectedarea and an online application for prospective members tofill out.

However much or little you decide to charge, it's essentialfor members to feel they're getting their money's worth, and that means that you must offer quite a lot ofmember-only content, with fresh material added often. Inot only quit one mentorship site but also asked for mymoney back because it didn't live up to the promise oflistings that were updated daily and the site ownerappeared to be nowhere in evidence.

Be flexible in what you're willing to offer members. Istarted off thinking that a member-only discussion boardwas the best way for members to get feedback and advicefrom me, but I learned that while some members loved that, others preferred the exchange of ideas in a live conferencecall. So I added those to my program.

Because I thoroughly researched and planned beforelaunching my online mentorship program and have remaineddetermined to have members think they're getting anunbelievable deal, MarketingforMore. com got off to asuccessful start and has continued to grow. Good luckcashing in on your expertise!


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